The year was 1844, Edo period, during the reigns of the 12th Tokugawa Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyoshi.
The film’s ensemble cast is led by Yakusho Koji as Shimada Shinzaemon, a samurai who gathers together a team of 13 skilled assassins to kill the younger brother of the Shogun, Matsudaira Naritsugu (Inagaki Goro). Naritsugu is innately cruel, and uses the power of the shogunate to commit mass atrocities against his own people. The assassins attempt to ambush Naritsugu as he makes his annual journey from Edo to his own domain. Unfortunately, he’s under the protection of a skilled military tactician named Kito Hanabee (Ichimura Masachika), and the assassins find themselves outnumbered four to one. Hanabee is a former colleague of Shinzaemon, and although he personally detests Naritsugu’s actions, his dedication to the samurai code of honor dictates that he must protect him at all costs.
Toho will be releasing “Thirteen Assassins” in Japan on September 25, 2010.
First thing intrigued me from this movie, was.... Goro-chan as the Evil Lord!?
Then later, I learned the cast lineup is full of MANLY ikemen-s I like!! =P
Thanks to a certain NHK taiga drama, I've grown fondness of the Tokugawa family clan and the Tokugawa shogunate. So knowing that the role Goro-chan played is of Tokugawa blood, makes me more and more intrigued in this movie!!^o^
Miike Takashi director? Nope, not one of the factor that drawn me to this movie. I'm not a follower of his cult =P Actually, I don't know anything abt his other movies O_o
He's not the lead of the movie, but I would say he's the key character.
Without him, there would be no 13 Assassins, desho? =P
According to Japanese wikipage, his official well-known name is Matsudaira Narikoto (松平斉宣).
He was the 25th son of the 11th shogun, Tokugawa Ienari.
Tokugawa Ieyoshi, the 12th shogun, is Ienari's 2nd son, Narikoto's older brother of different mother.
In the age of 15, Matsudaira Naritsugu, Lord of Akashi Castle, adopted Narikoto as his son, and he was soon became the heir of the Matsudaira family and became the lord of the castle.
(Tokugawa clan's founder, Tokugawa Ieyasu's birth surname was Matsudaira, so I believe Matsudaira is still a relative of Tokugawa)
According to historical record, Narikoto had done several immoral misconducts. One of them is the fact that he killed a 3 years old boy. Narikoto always make annual visit to the Edo castle, to pay greetings to the Shogun. From Akashi to Edo and the way back, they always have to pass through the Owari domain. One time, when Matsudaira Narikoto's procession was passing through Owari, a 3 years old boy disturbed the procession. His vassals captured the boy. The Owari people begged Narikoto to give mercy to the boy, but he ordered his vassal to kill the boy, instead.
In June 1844, Narikoto died of heavy illness in 19 years of age. But another theory said that he was killed by the 3 years old boy's father who was a (animal) hunter.
So I guess the 13 assassins are fictional characters? Or maybe it was one of the theory of how Narikoto died, and developed into a fiction? Oh... wait a minute, I don't know whether or not he'll die in the movie, yet =P
Narikoto reminds me of another Shogun's brother. According to history, Tokugawa Tadanaga, the 3rd Shogun - Iemitsu's younger birth brother (same mother), had also done so many misconducts, killing his own vassals and other crimes. I think, there must be some kind of pressure of being a Shogun's brother that triggered them to do such misconducts. I don't think it's just out of power thirst.
As to why the role's name is Naritsugu in the movie, and not Narikoto... hmm... in both the 1963 and 2010 movies the role's name is Naritsugu. But in the "13 Assassins" novel published in February 2010, a novelization of the 2010 remake movie, the role's name is Narikoto. And if we read the historical description, Matsudaira Narikoto is more fitting with Naritsugu's role in the movie.
My guess is... they merged Naritsugu and Narikoto into one fictional character in the movies XD
But according to the historical record, the shogun's brother is definitely Narikoto. Matsudaira Naritsugu has no blood relation with the Shogun, except maybe with the Tokugawa founder, Ieyasu.
Putting aside all the historical facts, this is what Miike Takashi said in the Venice Film Festival press conference, when a Taiwanese reporter asked him why he casted Inagaki Goro of SMAP as the Evil Lord:
"Inagaki Goro-san, who played the role as The (evil) Lord, is a member of SMAP, an idol group in Japan. In Japan, idols do not play evil roles. So, I guess people were surprised that he got to play the role. And so you're asking me why he got the role? Well, I think he suits this role. Especially, since he's a member of SMAP, #1 idol group in Japan, for more than a decade, and Inagaki Goro's existence in the group is quite unique. Among the group's members, he's not one of the most popular one, he didn't have any much stood out activities, and yet his existence in the group is important. He has a different, unique charm. So I think he suits the role very much. And in the movie, he has lived up to the expectations."
Speaking of SMAP, when I was checking out Tokugawa Ieyasu's wikipage, I just found out KIMURA TAKUYA had also play Tokugawa Ieyasu before!!! Masaka!! XD Haha, apparently he played young Tokugawa Ieyasu before. So Kimura have played the roles of young Oda Nobunaga and young Tokugawa Ieyasu (Matsudaira Motoyasu).... yappari, fusawashii~ ^_^
Then, Kusanagi Tsuyoshi have played the role of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the 5th shogun... un, I know. But I didn't really watch that drama special that time, because I don't like the female lead, Fukada Kyoko XD Considering to re-watch that again now^^ Coz I'm currently addicted to the Tokugawa family clan story!!^o^
His son and daughter-in-law were killed by Naritsugu. A military strategist in the Owari domain. He helped Shimada Shinzaemon (Yakusho Koji) with military tactics to attack Naritsugu.
Koshiro-otousan!! Hehee... Matsu Takako's father, I'm a fan of Matsu's family, so anything Koshiro-san stars I usually watch. So this is like a bonus for me!^^
Kyaaaaa.... ikemen #2!!!^o^
Shinzaemon's son, Shintaro. He has a love story in the movie, with actress, Kazue Fukiishi... hmm, I don't like her, zannen....
Ikemen #3!!!! Kyaaa... I like this ojisan alot!!! heehee....
Kyaaaa... ikemen #4!!!^o^ Have always liked him in movies, first saw him in Casshern. Too bad he only play in movies, ne.
May not look handsome in this picture, but I think he's quite good-looking. I like his deep manly voice. 29 years old and just currently raising, with his role in the NHK asadora, Gegege no Nyobo, also he will be Mizukawa Asami's husband in next year's taiga drama, GOU.
Saw him first in NHK asadora, Gegege no Nyobo, and I think he's cute!! He actually act alot more mature than his baby-face looks^^
Oops... gomen, I didn't put the lead's solo picture here =P YAKUSHO KOJI, I like him too!!^o^ Last time he acted together with Goro-chan was in Mitani Koki's "Warai no Daigaku", a hillarious and brilliant comedy movie. We can say their roles were against each other in that movie, ne. They got along in the end though, lol.
And now in a totally different genre, their roles go against each other again. I'd really love to know what does Yakusho Koji and Goro-chan thinks of each other as this is their 2nd time acting together^^